“We have to have a break from one another. I feel completely suffocated.” I huffed these words loud enough to be heard, but not clearly enough to be understood. Silence in response. I kept packing my backpack, frantically. In fact, I just started throwing in random things I only thought I might need. Two pairs of jeans? Maybe I’ll need one for each plane ride. An extra sweater? Sure, maybe it will be a little chilly one night. Luckily, I was fleeing to the equator, so flip-flops and bikinis were the bulk of the contents. “I just can’t even think about our future. Maybe it’s over between us. I don’t know how I’ll feel. We’ll have to see how it goes when I get back” Then more silence.
Things hadn't been going well for a while. I was exhausted. Everything felt like pressure and vaguely like emotional abuse. There was hardly any more laughter and certainly no more adventure between us. Maybe things had just cooled off. Maybe we'd reached a 4 year slump. Perhaps we'd just fallen into a difficult pattern and we had no idea how to get out of it. Who knows? I just know I couldn't stay for even one more day of suffering.
And so I fled. I fled all the way to Nicaragua. I looked at what seemed to be all the stars in the universe at once from the top of a beachside hill. I surfed in a flash rainstorm that rendered me nearly blind for a few minutes. I experienced more adventure and more excitement in that 16 days than in the past 3 years of my life combined. And yet, I still felt that longing. I still felt that pull dragging me back.
Four weeks apart, and after some of the most wonderful experiences of my 26 years, my plane touched down in Queens, and I got a cab straight to Brooklyn. There I spent the next two days anxiously awaiting the time we’d be together again. I bought a new dress: pink seersucker with a full skirt and fitted bodice in that vintage ‘50s style that isn’t in any way cutting edge right now, but is classically feminine and pretty. I needed the confidence for this reunion. I was completely unsure.
After a night spent wasting time on the Internet, staying up too late with anxiety, I got up ready to face the inevitable. I fixed my hair, blow drying it straight and long. It seems like it had grown about 6 inches since I’d been gone, and it was definitely healthier than before. I put on make-up for the first time in over a month: mascara, eye liner, blush. I couldn’t go into this any less than perfect. I even put on heels. Heels are something I rarely wear, and when I do, only on the most special of occasions. I zipped up the nearly-too-tight bodice of the dress, and I headed out the door.
I played a poppy country song on my iPod, giving me a bit of a strut when considering the bouncy chorus of "my heart like a kick drum.” I couldn’t have been more ready. And then onto the crowded L train. Since it’s officially springtime in the city, people seem to have loosened their loads a bit since the last cold time I’d seen the hoards on the train. Even being crammed in with commuters didn’t bring down my pepped spirits. I made my way through the maze that is Union Square, feinting left and then right to avoid people paying little attention to other travelers.
And then in all of my resplendent glory, I ascended the station stairs. I looked around in the sunlight, squinting slightly since I'd worn my black framed glasses and no sunglasses, my heart pounding. I smiled with immediate recognition and looked around Union Square. All I could think was, “I think we should give it another go, New York. I’m finally ready to try it all again. I really do love you.”